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When I started my health journey, one of the first things I did was get up and walk. Granted at the weight I was, I wasn’t going to be able to be very active and jump into the nearest HIIT class. So I took myself out the front door. I am lucky that there are walking trails around a nearby lake. I’ve racked up many miles around that lake and the surrounding area over the years. While I now go to the local gym most days of the week, walking is still a big part of my exercise routine.
Equipment – some needed, some optional
A good pair of walking shoes is essential. Happy feet are healthy feet. You need to know what kind of shoes will work for you. I always figured my feet turned out when I walked, but went to a local running store to get them fitted and measured and was told I have a neutral gait. Shoes should be replaced approximately every 500 miles. Your feet are connected to the rest of you, you’re investing in your health and well-being.
A water bottle is kind of optional. While you may not need to walk with one, you do need to use one and drink your water once you’re done. I generally don’t take it on an outside walk, but do use it when I get home. If I’m at the gym on the treadmill, I drink as I go.
A way to track your steps and/or miles is also optional, but I find a way to challenge myself, to make sure I reach my goal. I use a Fitbit and when I first got it, I’ll admit to being a little nuts about getting those 10,000 daily steps in. I finally got past that bit of an obsession and do the best I can each day. I used to be a hospital nurse and there was no problem with getting my steps. I could get enough for another person too! Now I work in a tiny doctors’ office and it’s only 40 steps to loop around the hall. My Fitbit alerts me to get 250 steps every hour so I try to get that in at work. Too much sitting is unhealthy and I need to stretch. There are dozens of trackers out there, there are also free apps on your phone where no tracker is needed. Or you can walk for time, set a goal to walk for thirty minutes. A general approximation is that one mile is equal to 2000 steps.
Benefits of walking
Walking is great for your body and great for your mind. It burns calories, improves stamina, lowers blood pressure, and helps build bone density. I’ve also found it helps relieve stress, and improve mood. I used to walk with music, now for some reason, if I walk outside, I prefer none and just listen to the sounds of nature. Or silence. I find letting my thoughts just go helps me work out a lot of things I may have going on, my Sunday walk is usually where I think about the week ahead and how I can handle any work issues or other obstacles. If I’m on the treadmill, I started watching series on Netflix or Amazon Prime.
While I love Boot Camp and TRX classes and other offerings at the gym, walking will always be a staple in my health journey.
How many steps or miles do you take a day? Leave a comment below!